Which supremacies
should we choose
to honor?

Water covers earth,
earth covers my arm.

My arm covers a blindness.  
A beat covers silence

and my own overall supremacy
has it all over English, which of course

is the language of the supremacy
that is most often noticed.

It is possible that silence
has beaten beats.
Is it possible?

If so, what
will become
of dancing?

If I cut my arm,
if I self-harm,

what supremacy do I honor
when I spill, for a change, my own blood?

Water is to earth
as blindness is
to English

as I am to the heart of the matter
as the heart is
to the remainder, the leftover;

all of it under the rule of the arm, 
reaching without being
certain of its grasp.

At night when we are all supposed
to be at rest,

we are troubled by the sound of many wings,
wings of moths, bats, strange birds;

the supremacy here
is that of darkness.

Welcome to a way of life
that’s become as greasy with mistakes and shoddy care
as a poorly washed cup in a sink;

greasy as news photos of con artists
telling lies with wide eyes to children
to keep them quiet and get them to sleep.

Welcome to a way of life
that could leave a slick
on the cleanest water; 

a way of life that could make a street cat
lose its way in an alley where it had lived
its whole ragged time.

What supremacies are honored
by the simple fact of you being allowed
to be whatever 
you want

no matter how often you try
to be something
you are not?

What supremacies does your existence
reinforce? What 
are you allowed
to be supreme over? 

What does it say about us all
that such allowances 
have been made
for you?

There is a spell 
that need not be spoken,
about which nothing need be said;

it is by its nature
made to be left unspoken:

one thing
to rule them all

one thing
to find them

one thing
to bring them all

in whiteness
shall we bind them

We sink into the topsoil
as all things do and lie there
somewhat dreaming

of what supremacies 
we may honor when we rise
again — what spells,

what blood we should spill
in ritual; dreaming of what language
we should chant, on whose arm

we should lean, in what blindness
we should willingly stand
when tomorrow comes for us at last.


About Tony Brown

A poet with a history in slam, lots of publications; my personal poetry and a little bit of daily life and opinions. Read the page called "About..." for the details. View all posts by Tony Brown

2 responses to “Supremacies

  • Eileen

    I do not have your power with language, but if you have time, read my latest: From Monkeys to Jesus; Has Humanity Made the Leap from Monkeys Yet?

  • Eileen

    Whew! Powerful….haunting….complex…..pricking assumptions and self-image……disconcerting…..unnerving, you really do go for the gut!!

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